In Illinois and an official report has reportedly cast considerable doubts on whether the state’s plan to license up to six additional casinos and bring gaming tables and sportsbetting to its horseracing tracks will prove capable of meeting the stated goal of increasing tax revenues.
According to a Thursday report from the Chicago Tribune newspaper, the Midwestern state’s bi-partisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability publish the results of an investigation that indicated aggregated tax revenues from gaming for the twelve months to the end of June had risen by 3.5% year-on-year to approximately $1.4 billion.
However, the newspaper reported that the examination had additionally determined that the same period had seen tax revenues from the state’s existing collection of ten casinos drop by more than 3% year-on-year, which continued a decade-long decline, to now contribute far less cash than video gambling machines and lottery.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Illinois’ estate of licensed riverboat casinos handed over around $554 million in taxes for 2003, which was almost 2.6% higher than the amount collected from the state’s lottery over the same period. The aggregated payment from these venues then purportedly peaked in 2005 at around $699 million but last year came in at only around $269 million, which was considerably lower than the $735 million generated by the Illinois Lottery.
In addition, the newspaper reported that casinos in Illinois now face competition from video gambling machines, which were legalized in 2012, with these having generated some $395 million in taxes for the twelve months to the end of June.
Under legislation that was signed into law by Illinois Governor, Jay Robert Pritzker, in June, the state is reportedly hoping to raise up to an additional $350 million a year by licensing individual casinos for the cities of Chicago, Waukegan, Danville and Rockford as well as for undetermined locations in the jurisdictions of Cook County and Williamson County. This expanded gambling scheme is all purportedly part of the Democratic politician’s six-year and $45 billion Rebuild Illinois infrastructure plan and could furthermore lead to legalized sportsbetting, a new horseracing facility for the southern suburbs of Chicago and an expansion of video gambling.
But, the inquiry from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability determined that the competition casinos already face from video gambling machines ‘continues to be a major factor’ in the decline of their tax revenues while this state of affairs ‘may be exacerbated’ if the state increases the number of its licensed venues. The examination purportedly stated that any new gambling venues in Illinois may also struggle to cope with the appearance of gambling machines at horseracing tracks as well as ‘new casinos in nearby states’ such as Indiana.